Artist Spotlight: Deb Ellsworth

Artist Spotlight:  Deb Ellsworth

May 17, 2023

On calling ourselves an Artist

I felt uncomfortable with the word Artist at first.

So I asked myself "Am I?" and took a look back at my life...
In childhood I LOVED learning to sew on buttons, which progressed to making Troll Doll clothes. In elementary school, I LOVED to work in my coloring books, experimenting with different color combinations. When I tried watercolor, I LOVED how the colors ran into each other on the page. In middle school, I LOVED painting ceramics. I LOVED Art Class in High School. I also LOVED Sewing Class when we made clothes for ourselves. In Adulthood, I made large crewel pieces to decorate my first apartment walls. I was so PROUD! I tried cross stitch and made so many gifts. I got heavily involved with quilting, particularly art quilts. I sold pieces to a store that had art quilts. I LOVED IT. I tried my hand at encaustic art (hot bees' wax and resin), LOVED IT. So, the way I convinced myself was to look back and I found that I have always loved color and trying different techniques. If that's not being an artist, I don't know what is!
So, two Christmases ago, I started watching "Kacha", "Brushed by Brandy," "Annie Sloan" and "Painted Love," with Jonathan Marc Mendes. I caught the bug (LOVED IT). I painted my first two pieces as Christmas gifts. One for my daughter, Adriane, a little side table. The other for my husband, John, a 5-drawer dresser using Kacha's beloved glass bead gel. I LOVED doing it. So I thought "Hey, maybe I could sell a piece?" So, I looked on Facebook Market Place, found a few pieces, painted them and I have just kept going! LOVE it...

On charging what your work (art) is worth:

You start as a hobbyist with very few working tools to begin: buy a can of paint, a brush, a piece of furniture and water to clean up. It is so much fun. Try it! Watch a video, find your paint colors, clean your piece and off you go! You learn and learn and keep learning...

I knew that if I was going to move beyond being a hobbyist and to call myself a business, I needed to make a profit.

As I moved ahead, I had more expenses (i.e. seminars to travel to, better quality furniture, higher quality paints, some machinery, a work bench...all things to make the job easier and faster.) So, I decided to bring everything that I used to complete a piece into the sales price (yeah, like businesses do!) Some things to consider: How much did I pay for the piece? How much of the can of paint did I use? Did I use more than one color? Did I buy a stencil? Did I use bondo and how much? Did I buy new hardware? Did I use wood to add sturdiness to the piece? Did I need special brushes to achieve the effect I produced? How much sandpaper did I use? Did I strip the piece first? Did I use decoupage paper? etc. I charge for everything that it costs me to do that beautiful creation. You need to replace all these things you use, so you need to recoup that money.
As I moved ahead, I valued my time more. Do yourself a favor and keep track of all the time you spend. Set yourself an egg or watch timer and keep really adds up! This way you know the true amount of time you spend rather than guessing. Don't forget to set your per hour fee. You can start at $20/hour and move up as you know more. It usually takes me 5-10 hours on a small piece and 10-20 hours on a large piece like an armoire or credenza. Also, don't forget 'drive time' to pick up the piece. (You can keep a "Mileage Log" to track this and get a tax write-off for it). Every day, look in the mirror and speak a positive affirmation to yourself!

These are validate, actual numbers. I felt better when I kept track of the facts. And it was an eye opener!

As far as 'pushback' on my prices? I say "I appreciate your question. My prices include shipping prices. The market fluctuates daily but I absorb that difference so you don't pay it. I consider my work high quality and I love creating these pieces. How else can I help you?"


What she wants you to particularly notice:

So today, my new business is called Artiques by Deb.
My website is:  
My email is: 
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